Intro to DECT: Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications

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Developed in Europe in 1992, DECT quickly became a universal standard for virtually every major country in the world. But what is it? DECT, or Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, is a basic standard used for wireless technologies, including phones, baby monitors, and industrial remote controls. If you’ve worked in a business office in the last 20 years, it’s highly likely you’ve used the technology (probably without even knowing it).
 
While previous analog technologies, like 900MHz CT1 and CT2, had a low sound quality and restrictive range, DECT offered clearer audio, greater distances, and a wider range of radio frequencies. DECT is mostly used to connect cordless phone systems to a base station. This connection allows office workers to use their desk phones without any interference from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

How Does DECT Work?

To use DECT, a base station is always required Once connected, the base sends signals to one or more components like a phone handset, which then wirelessly connect to the station. In residential settings, this allows the user to walk freely around the home. Inside an office, each employee can have a headset at their desk, rather than a bulky phone that takes up space or wireless microphones in conference rooms to avoid wire clutter.

Useful Applications for DECT

With the ability to support both voice and data services, the following uses have proven to be particularly advantageous for DECT:
  • Residential
  • Public access services
  • Business telephones
  • Cordless data
  • Wireless access to the Internet
  • Wireless home networking
  • Machine-to-machine or machine-to-man wireless communications
  • Extensions to cellular radio
  • Office communications
 

DECT 6.0

Countries widely adopted DECT across the globe. However, the U.S. ran into problems that delayed its transition to the new standard and has affected their use of it ever since. Because of their radio frequency regulations, the U.S. uses its own standard, known as DECT 6.0. Although DECT 6.0 is nearly identical to DECT, unfortunately, the slight difference in frequency ranges makes DECT 6.0 systems incompatible with those using DECT.
 

DECT vs. Bluetooth

Security

Security is always top-of-mind when discussing wireless technologies, especially for businesses that send vital voice and data information from one place to another. Luckily, both DECT and Bluetooth are very secure, with DECT offering a 64-bit encryption key and Bluetooth providing a 128-bit encryption key. While Bluetooth does have the higher encryption key, thereby making it theoretically more secure, a 64-bit encryption key is still very safe. It’s also possible for the equipment using DECT to implement additional encryption protocols to increase this security.
 

Distance

Distance is the most apparent convenience of cordless technology. Without a cord, you’re free to wander as far as you wish without the fear of dropping your call or canceling your data transfer. Or are you? In reality, no matter your system, eventually, you’re going to walk out of range. And it’s in this department that DECT shines far brighter than Bluetooth.
 
DECT devices have a range of around 330 feet, meaning you can walk anywhere within 330 feet of the base station and still maintain a connection. However, Bluetooth has three different classes, each with its own range. Class 3 devices, usually found in keyboards and mice, have a range of only about 3 feet. Class 2 devices, utilized in smartphones, can reach slightly further at around 33 feet. Finally, the class 1 devices used in business settings can often achieve the same range of DECT at about 330 feet.
 
While DECT does have an extensive range, there are a limited number of channels available for use. In the U.S., that number is 60, while in Europe it is a bit higher at 120. This limitation typically isn’t a problem in small businesses or traditional day-to-day office environments. However, in densely populated companies, such as call centers, the traffic volume can often exceed the limit of these channels. In this case, there is a workaround, though it will require a second base station. The range of the equipment can be reduced to 60 feet, allowing you to place a second base station in your space. In doing so, be mindful not to put the two stations within range of each other to mitigate interference.

Connectivity

The ability to seamlessly connect to one device and switch to another is one that can often go overlooked. However, this function is used in everyday life more often than not. Think of all the things your phone connects to on a typical day: headphones, car, smartwatch, computer, tablet, smart home devices, hands-free headsets, etc. The reason this goes unnoticed is it’s a smooth process that happens without any input other than the initial pairing.
 
This connectivity may be the most significant advantage Bluetooth has over DECT. Where DECT headsets can only connect to one other device (the base station), a Bluetooth device can connect to up to eight devices simultaneously. For some, this may not be an issue. For example, if you only use the headset as a desk phone, the additional seven connections won't matter anyway, so DECT is still a smart choice. On the other hand, if it will also require connection to one or more other devices, Bluetooth could be the way to go.


How Does Yamaha UC use DECT?

As one of the first players in the wireless microphone market, Yamaha UC has utilized DECT protocol for a while now among their microphone systems and conference phones. All of our wireless microphone systems run on DECT, as well as our wireless conference phones, like the FLX 2.  
 
Learn more about our products by browsing our workspace solutions or contacting us with any additional questions.